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Welcome to Rust-101

This is Rust-101, a small tutorial for the Rust language. It is intended to be an interactive, hands-on course: I believe the only way to really learn a language is to write code in it, so you should be coding during the course.

If you have any questions that are not answered here, check out the “Additional Resources” below. In particular, the IRC channel is filled with awesome people willing to help you! I spent lots of time there ;-)

I will assume some familiarity with programming, and hence not explain the basic concepts common to most languages. Instead, I will focus on what makes Rust special.

Why Rust?

When you got here, I am kind of assuming that you already decided to give Rust at least a look, so that I don’t have to do much convincing here. But just in case, here’s why I think Rust is worth learning: At this time, Rust is a language with a pretty unique set of goals. Rust aims to achieve C++-style control over memory and execution behavior (like, static vs. dynamic dispatch), which makes it possible to construct abstractions that carry no run-time cost. This is combined with the comfort of high-level functional languages and guaranteed safety (as in, the program will not crash in uncontrolled ways). The vast majority of existing languages sacrifices control for safety (for example, by enforcing the usage of a garbage collector) or vice versa. Rust can run without dynamic allocation (i.e., without a heap), and even without an operating system. In fact, Rust rules out more classes of bugs than languages that achieve safety with a garbage collector: Besides dangling pointers and double-free, Rust also prevents issues such as iterator invalidation and data races. Finally, it cleans up behind you, and deallocates resources (memory, but also file descriptors and really anything) when you don’t need them anymore.

Getting started

You will need to have Rust installed, of course. It is available for download on the Rust website. Make sure you get at least version 1.3. More detailed installation instructions are provided in The Book. This will also install cargo, the tool responsible for building rust projects (or crates).

Next, we have to prepare a workspace for you to conduct your Rust-101 work in, so that you don’t have to start with an empty file. The easiest way is to download the workspace matching the online tutorial. Try cargo build in that new folder to check that compiling your workspace succeeds. (You can also execute it with cargo run, but you’ll need to do some work before this does anything useful.)

Alternatively, you can build the workspace from source by fetching the git repository and running make workspace.

Course Content

Open your-workspace/src/ in your favorite editor, and follow the link below for the explanations and exercises. You are ready to start. Have fun!


Basic Rust

Advanced Rust